Fox News’s Megyn Kelly just announced that the AP is reporting that the president has relieved General McChrystal of his command and will replace him with General Petraeus.
1:27pm update: Major Garrett has just confirmed the AP’s report that McChrystal is out and Petraeus is in charge of the war effort in Afghanistan.
1:44pm update: Obama is now speaking. He just announced that he accepted General McChrystal’s resignation. Biden is standing to his right and General Petraeus is to his left.
Now that General Petraeus is in charge of Afghanistan under Barack Obama’s command, I wonder if we’ll see any more nastiness like this from MoveOn.Org:
Update: Victor Davis Hanson on McChrystal’s ouster and Petraeus’s return:
Obama had no choice but to do what he did, and the wise Petraeus move was obviously a mitigating factor. Obama’s speech, despite the customarily excessive use of “I,” “me,” and “my,” was workmanlike and wise in its emphasis on continuity of strategy…
It is one of ironies of our present warped climate that Petraeus will face far less criticism from the media and politicians than during 2007-8 (there will be no more “General Betray Us” ads or “suspension of disbelief” ridicule), because his success this time will reflect well on Obama rather than George Bush. It is a further irony that Obama is surging with Petraeus despite not long ago declaring that such a strategy and such a commander were failures in Iraq. And it is an even further irony that he is now rightly calling for “common purpose” when — again not long ago, at a critical juncture in Iraq — Obama himself, for partisan purposes on the campaign trail, had no interest in the common purpose of military success in Iraq.
Update II: John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and Lindsay Graham all spoke at a press conference about McChrystal’s resignation and Petraeus’s installation. All three of them expressed regret at how McChrystal’s resignation came about but were very supportive of Obama’s selection of General Petraeus to replace him. McCain said that Petraeus’s confirmation may be the fastest in Senate history. Graham was clearly disappointed in McChrystal’s approval and participation in the Rolling Stone article and said that, having been an army officer for most of his adult life, he understood why the president had to relieve McChrystal of his command. He crossed a line that cannot be crossed in the military. Graham also said that if an officer has a negative personal opinion of his Commander in Chief he needs to keep that opinions to himself because, regardless of how people may disagree with the president’s policies, he is still the Commander in Chief and must be respected.
I understand Graham’s sentiments about respecting the Commander in Chief, but, honestly, the president’s dismissive attitude toward the war in Afghanistan and his three months of dithering on sending more troops into the field when they were requested has not commanded much respect from our military.
Maybe that will change a little today after our military men and women watched the president handle this situation in the professional and decisive manner they have always expected from the Commander in Chief. I hope it continues.
Update III: Michael Barone on Obama’s performance:
Barack Obama, as I wrote in my Examiner column today, faced a tough decision on what to do about General Stanley McChrystal and must take command. I think he just did that in his brief and graceful statement announcing that he had accepted McChrystal’s resignation and appointed General David Petraeus to take his place. Obama was on firm ground when he said that the statements of McChrystal and his staffers were improper and unacceptable conduct by military officers; the principle of civilian control of the military is hugely important, and Obama asserted it forcefully. Obama also sent a message to other appointees: no more public disagreements and leaked misgivings. There must be “unity of effort . . . across our national security team.” This was a message to, among others, one of the men standing behind him, Vice President Joe Biden.
There is much that remains to be done to gain success–Obama still won’t use the word victory–in Afghanistan. But this was a strong performance, made by a president who was suddenly forced to make a binary choice under terrific pressure. Good for him.
It’s quite sad, isn’t it, that Obama’s truly dismal performance so far as Commander in Chief has set the bar so low that we’re pleased and relieved that he has shown even the slightest hint of competence.